This post contains affiliate links. If you click & make a purchase, I receive a commission! Thanks! Questions? View my full disclosure.

Before I started writing here I had already gone on twelve Big Trips! Over time I will be adding the daily overviews of past trips, and today I’m giving you Big Trip 12. We’ve been to so many great places that I hope to inspire your future itineraries with our report. At the end of this post, you will see a map of our stops.

Day 1

On our way out of town we stopped at our favorite used book store to stock up on reading for the trip then continued south to our first stop. After the Woodrow Wilson Museum we stay with a friend in Roanoke, Virginia.

two travelers stand under umbrella with dog before beginning rainy road trip
It’s not all sunshine and roses… Big Trip 12 is starting in the rain!

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum

Virginia was the birthplace for several presidents and we are slowly working our way around to all the various presidential historic sites.

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum in Staunton, Virginia, is located at the birthplace of our 28th president. The museum includes Wilson’s restored 1919 Pierce-Arrow Limousine and a WWI trench replica.

dog sitting outside entrance to Woodrow Wilson Museum
  • Save
No dogs allowed…
red brick house with sign "Woodrow Wilson Birthplace"
  • Save

Day 2

The highlight of today is a stop at Mountain Lake Lodge where the Dirty Dancing movie was filmed. While there we discover they offer Dirty Dancing-themed weekends and add it to our list for a future weekend.

Mountain Lake Lodge

hotel used in filming of Dirty Dancing movie on a foggy day
  • Save
Across the meadow, shrouded in fog… it’s the hotel from the Dirty Dancing movie!

Boone Station Historic Site

In 1779 Boonesboro was too crowded, so Daniel Boone moved his family and established Boone Station which grew to 20 families at its height before they lost their land claim and moved on to another area.

Boone Station State Historic Site sign with barn in distance
  • Save
Not much here now but you can follow in the Boone family footsteps in this quiet corner of Kentucky.

Day 3

We are starting the day with Abraham Lincoln then moving on to Superman!

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, in a one-room cabin on Sinking Spring Farm. Just down the road is the Lincoln Boyhood home at Knob Creek, where he lived from age 2 1/2 to 8.

Abraham Lincoln’s Boyhood Home – Knob Creek Farm

A few miles from Sinking Springs is the Knob Creek farm where Lincoln lived from age 2 1/2 to 8 years old. His earliest memories are from this place.
  • Save
A few miles from Sinking Springs is the Knob Creek farm where Lincoln lived from age 2 1/2 to 8 years old. His earliest memories are from this place.

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace

This monument design reminds me of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Inside the building is the replica of the cabin where Abraham Lincoln was born.
  • Save
This monument design reminds me of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Inside the building is the replica of the cabin where Abraham Lincoln was born.

Superman’s Hometown – Metropolis, Illinois

The town of Metropolis, Illinois, raised $120,000 in 1993 to build this 15-foot tall, 3-ton Superman statue.

After taking a picture with Superman, we went to the Super Museum, which holds the World’s Largest Collection of Superman. This is also the place where I bought my most expensive smashed penny.

Girl stands below giant Superman statue
  • Save
Superheroes!

Day 4-5

Enjoying a couple of days of family time at Grandma’s house!

An entry from my trip journal for Day 4:

A quiet day spent hanging around at Lana’s house and Grandma’s house. Dirty Dancing and Hallmark movies. Rocco has to go to the kennel. The van’s check engine light is on.

curvy road in background and sample road trip planner pages in foreground with buy button
A printable, customizable travel planner and journal ready to capture your next road trip! From hotel reservations to daily route itineraries, from packing list to daily journal, capture it all in this ready-to-print planner and journal.

Day 6

Back on the road today, heading west to Nebraska. We were mostly trying to cover distance, so didn’t make a lot of stops. We did have time to see Albert, though.

Albert the Bull

Albert the Bull has been standing tall since 1964. The World’s Largest Bull is 28 feet tall and his horns span 15 feet. He weighs 45 tons.

Albert is a fan of recycling – his steel structure under the concrete is made mostly of steel salvaged from abandoned windmills in Iowa.

girl and dog standing in front of giant Albert the Bull statue
  • Save
Now that’s a big bull!

Day 7

More driving. Stopped at the Massacre Canyon roadside memorial. Ate lunch in Fort Morgan. Stayed at our friend’s house in Denver.

Massacre Canyon

massacre canyon monument of stone stands against backdrop of blue sky, white clouds, and green grass of the plains
  • Save
Found along Hwy 34 in Nebraska, the Massacre Canyon monument marks the site of the last battle between Native American tribes.

Day 8

Lunch with friends then head up the mountain to see Buffalo Bill’s grave and museum. Then dinner with some other friends.

Buffalo Bill Grave and Museum

Buffalo Bill's grave site
  • Save
Overlooking Golden, Colorado, is the Buffalo Bill grave and museum.

Day 9

Drive to Colorado Springs. Drop Rocco at the kennel. Lunch at SMASHburger with a friend then shopping. Dinner at Pueblo Viejo with Dad.

Day 10

Drive back to Denver to pick up Ron and Felisa from the airport after a change in flight plans. Lunch at Schlotzsky’s and a drive through Garden of the Gods. Dinner on the grill, then off to the very wet and muddy finals night of Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo.

Garden of the Gods

red rocks of Garden of the Gods park silhouetted against dark storm clouds
  • Save
Red rocks and summer storm clouds!

Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo

Cowboys in arena rope a calf
The Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo is always a good show!

Day 11

Pick up Rocco at the kennel, then head south to Albuquerque.

collection of flags behind sign that says Trinidad
  • Save
Welcome to Trinidad!
coal burning steam engine on display in Trinidad, Colorado
  • Save
Steam Engine 683 – the last coal-burning steam engine used by the Colorado & Southern railroad is on display near the local Safeway store in Trinidad, Colorado.

Day 12-14

New Mexico with family

Day 12: Meet the Philmont group at the Albuquerque airport to pick up Ryan. Listen to all his stories about the 101 miles they hiked over the past 12 days.

Day 13: A visit to one of our favorite used book stores then a stop at Big 5 and an oil change. Back at Grandma’s, lots of food and hanging out with cousins.

Day 14: We take Ryan to visit UNM and NM Tech in Socorro while the girls stay at Grandma’s. Later the kids play Trivial Pursuit and Bella practices driving.

Day 15

On the road to Texas. Lots of wide open spaces and windmills and cows. Camping at Palo Duro Canyon State Park. It is so hot that it feels like the surface of the sun. Ron and the kids go to see the Texas! show while Rocco and I hang out at the campground. It stays hot for quite some time. The show ends with cannons and fireworks, which Rocco doesn’t like.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

overlooking green and red landscape of Palo Duro Canyon
  • Save
The beautiful landscape of Palo Duro Canyon State Park
three kids and dog outside a yellow tent in Palo Duro Canyon campground
  • Save
It was hot camping in Palo Duro Canyon!

Day 16

Driving to the ranch today. We even pass through Eden, TX, which is the center of the state.

Day 17-19

Fun at the ranch with family.

cows grazing and crossing road
  • Save
Love to see the cows at the ranch!

Day 20

Back on the road with one very full van! First stop – Austin Airport to drop off Ron and Felisa. We wanted to see the Magnolia Farms Silos in Waco, but the crowds and traffic were ridiculous. Instead, we discovered a new fast food chain – Raising Canes. Then back on the road. Ryan had his first-ever turn driving during a Big Trip. Hotel in Monroe, LA, for the night.

Roadtrippers Plus road trip planner ad with get started button
Use code BTR5QTP to save $5

Day 21

Today was the day to finally drive on the Natchez Trace Parkway after many trips of passing it by. We started in the middle, so missed some but still saw lots of interesting scenery. Lunch in Kosciuscko, MS, and getting the check engine light checked again (the darn thing is back on AGAIN). After we exit the Natchez Trace we stop at Elvis’ birthplace. Then onward to Birmingham to see a friend.

Natchez Trace Parkway

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile-long scenic drive (and National Park!). It roughly follows the “Old Natchez Trace” a historic travel corridor used by American Indians, “Kaintucks,” European settlers, slave traders, soldiers, and future presidents. There’s a great video on the NPS website for the park that shows an overview of the drive through the park.

We entered near Jackson and exited at Tupelo so only saw the middle section on this trip.

tall trees in a swamp in Natchez Trace Parkway
  • Save
I’ve always thought swamp trees look so interesting!

Elvis Birthplace

The Natchez Trace Parkway continues all the way to Nashville but we got off in Tupelo, Mississippi. We stopped to see Elvis’ Birthplace and walk around the gardens before continuing east to Birmingham.

small white house where Elvis Presley was born
  • Save
Elvis Aaron Presley was born in a two-room house built by his father, grandfather, and uncle, in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935.

Day 22

On the road once more, heading east. Bella is not feeling well today. Why do we always run into trouble leaving Birmingham? Stop at Georgia Tech to look around. Then off to USC in Columbia to look around. SMASHburger for dinner.

brown and white dog sitting in liriope plants
It’s hot in the south! Rosco found a cool spot to rest while visiting Georgia Tech.

Day 23

Start off the day with Krispy Kreme donuts. Standard drive north on I-95 through South Carolina, North Carolina, and southern VA. Spend the night at a friend’s house. (Except for Rocco, who has to spend one last night at a kennel.)

Day 24

Homeward bound once we pick up Rocco. As always, lots of traffic heading north on I-95. Finally make it home.

This year was a short trip. 6417 miles, 15 states, 7 colleges, 24 days. Looking back, we spent a lot more of our time with friends and family with several long driving days. We didn’t break up our drive with as many fun stops as we usually do. A perfect example of how even for us, every trip is different!

A Map of Our Waypoints

Here’s a Google map showing the places we stopped along our route.

Follow me for more!

Sign up for my newsletter to stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest from Behind Every Day.

click photo to sign up for email updates from Behind Every Day
  • Save
You don’t want to be left behind at the rest stop do you? Sign up now to stay up to date on the latest happenings at Behind Every Day!

Want more Big Trips?

Check out all our Big Trip itineraries and other info here:

Use my planner!

I made a printable version of my travel planner for you to use when planning your next trip. Check it out on Etsy! (affiliate link)

curvy road in background and sample road trip planner pages in foreground with buy button
A printable, customizable travel planner and journal ready to capture your next road trip! From hotel reservations to daily route itineraries, from packing list to daily journal, capture it all in this ready-to-print planner and journal.
  • Save

Similar Posts

One Comment

Comments are closed.